Chicago Cubs: Top 10 Prospects

Chicago Cubs

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2007.

1.Felix Pie, of
2.Donald Veal, lhp
3.Jeff Samardzija, rhp
4.Tyler Colvin, of
5.Sean Gallagher, rhp
6.Eric Patterson, 2b
7.Scott Moore, 3b
8.Ryan Harvey, of
9.Chris Huseby, rhp
10.Mark Pawelek, lhp
Best Hitter for AverageTyler Colvin
Best Power HitterRyan Harvey
Best Strike-Zone DisciplineSam Fuld
Fastest BaserunnerChris Walker
Best AthleteFelix Pie
Best FastballJeff Samardzija
Best CurveballDonald Veal
Best SliderRocky Cherry
Best ChangeupBilly Muldowney
Best ControlScott Taylor
Best Defensive CatcherJake Muyco
Best Defensive InfielderJosh Lansford
Best Infield ArmJosh Lansford
Best Defensive OutfielderFelix Pie
Best Outfield ArmRyan Harvey
CatcherMichael Barrett
First BaseDerrek Lee
Second BaseEric Patterson
Third BaseAramis Ramirez
ShortstopRonny Cedeno
Left FieldAlfonso Soriano
Center FieldFelix Pie
Right FieldTyler Colvin
No. 1 StarterCarlos Zambrano
No. 2 StarterMark Prior
No. 3 StarterDonald Veal
No. 4 StarterTed Lilly
No. 5 StarterSean Gallagher
CloserJeff Samardzija
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Kerry Wood, rhpCubs
1998Kerry Wood, rhpCubs
1999Corey Patterson, ofOrioles
2000Corey Patterson, ofOrioles
2001Corey Patterson, ofOrioles
2002Mark Prior, rhpCubs
2003Hee Seop Choi, 1bRed Sox
2004Angel Guzman, rhpCubs
2005Brian Dopirak, 1bCubs
2006Felix Pie, ofCubs
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Jon Garland, rhpWhite Sox
1998Corey Patterson, ofOrioles
1999Ben Christensen, rhpOut of baseball
2000Luis Montanez, ssCubs
2001Mark Prior, rhpCubs
2002Bobby Brownlie, rhpCubs
2003Ryan Harvey, ofCubs
2004Grant Johnson, rhp (2nd round)Cubs
2005Mark Pawelek, lhpCubs
2006Tyler Colvin, ofCubs
Mark Prior, 2001$4,000,000
Corey Patterson, 1998$3,700,000
Luis Montanez, 2000$2,750,000
Bobby Brownlie, 2002$2,500,000
Jeff Samardzija, 2006$2,500,000
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Chicago Cubs

The Cubs fully expected to contend in 2006, and that they did--for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft. They finished at 66-96, their worst record since 2000 and their second-worst in the last 25 years.

Chicago was cruising at the start of the season, going 9-5 though April 19, when Derrek Lee broke two bones in his right wrist in a collision at first base. By the time the 2005 major league batting leader returned to the lineup on June 25, the club was 28-45.

Citing Lee's injury as the reason for team's disastrous performance would be a gross oversimplification. The Cubs had problems that would have undermined them even had Lee stayed healthy, and those problems have plagued them since they got within five outs of reaching the World Series in October 2003.

Mark Prior and Kerry Wood combined for 32 wins that season, but just 30 in the three seasons since. Yet Chicago continued to bank on a full return to health for both, optimism at its worst. With Prior and Wood able to make just 13 starts in 2006, the club trotted out a succession of rookies in their place. Rich Hill proved to be one of the better young lefthanders in baseball, but Angel Guzman, Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall--all members of our Cubs Top 10 Prospects list a year ago--got rocked.

The pitching staff finished next to last in the National League in runs allowed, mirroring its rank in runs scored. Chicago has posted on-base percentages below the league average since Jim Hendry became general manager in July 2002, yet its three newcomers in the lineup last season were rookie Ronnie Cedeno, free agent Jacques Jones and trade acquisition Juan Pierre. None of them is known for on-base ability, and the Cubs plunged to last in the league in OBP.

The team's performance cost manager Dusty Baker his job, and club president Andy MacPhail resigned at the end of the regular season. Senior vice president of marketing and broadcasting John McDonough replaced MacPhail, and Hendry hired Lou Piniella to succeed Baker.

Piniella won't tolerate losing, and speculation is that the Tribune Co., which may be considering selling the team, won't either. If the Cubs' fortunes don't improve, Hendry and other members of the front office probably will be out of jobs after 2007.

With that pressure to win and a farm system thinned out by injuries, trades and attrition, Chicago plunged heavily into the free-agent market this offseason. The first move was to re-sign Aramis Ramirez for five years and $75 million, a deal quickly trumped by the eight years and $136 million given to Alfonso Soriano. All told, the Cubs committed $294.6 million to nine free agents, and they'll cross the nine-figure payroll threshold for the first time.

In an attempt to revive the system, the Cubs also invested heavily in the draft. They took Notre Dame pitcher/wide receiver Jeff Samardzija in the fifth round, though it took a five-year major league contract worth $10 million to lure him away from the NFL. They also gave Florida high schooler Chris Huseby $1.3 million as an 11th-rounder, though he barely pitched during the spring while recovering from Tommy John surgery.